Observations/notes from Saturday's scrimmage
Here’s a bit of what stood out:
--Michael Bennett being blocked by backup linemen is pretty unfair. He was constantly in the backfield, as was Cliff Avril, making things nearly impossible for the offenses being run by Terrelle Pryor and Tarvaris Jackson.
“They had trouble blocking Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril today,” Carroll said. “They were a big problem.”
And speaking of the backup QBs…
--Pryor got the first two series with the No. 2 defense, though my hunch is Carroll will rotate second-team reps for those two throughout the preseason, so probably not a lot to read into there. Pryor made some very nice throws, but also was a bit erratic at times, though again, the pass rush made it tough for either to function.
--Percy Harvin was a big part of the offense. He had a catch over the middle allowing the offense to convert on 3rd and 15, he took a handoff on a fly sweep (though Horace Miller made a nice open-field “tackle” to stop Harvin for a short gain) and he had a 38-yard catch. That last big play was immediately followed by back-to-back offensive penalties, causing the drive to stall out.
--Robert Turbin hasn’t had the buzz surrounding him like Christine Michael, but on this day at least, he looked like the more productive back.
--K Steven Hauschka hit field goals of 51, 38 and 34 yards. The phantom punter (ball were placed on kickoff and punt situations rather than going through those plays) also had a good day, putting several punts inside the 20.
--Phil Bates, hoping to earn one of the last roster spots at receiver, had a nice back-shoulder catch for a 31-yard gain that got the No. 1 offense to the 10-yard line. That drive ended just before the half when a Russell Wilson pass was tipped and intercepted in the end zone by Terrance Parks (Wilson thought pass interference should have been called).
--In what wasn’t perhaps the smartest play, Wilson went charging into the end zone trying to catch that tipped ball—it hung up in the air for a while—and ended up diving into Parks. Carroll joked he’d have a talk with his quarterback about that play.
“I was going to catch it,” Wilson said. “I had it, but then Terrance Parks made a great play, dove for it, so I kind of turned my body so I wouldn’t get hit.”
--Undrafted rookie receiver Kevin Smith beat Richard Sherman down the sideline for a 26-yard gain.
--Brock Coyle, another undrafted rookie, ran with the No. 1 defense with Bobby Wagner still sidelined, and he held his own, Carroll said.
“He’s done a fantastic job,” Carroll said. “Here he is, first camp as a rookie and he’s running the first defense out here. Everybody really likes him. He’s doing a good job on special teams, he’s very bright, it’s not too big for him to handle the calls and all of that. We won’t really know until we get to playing and see how he’s running and hitting and making his plays and all, but he’s done a great job. Really to command this defense like he has, he’s done a very, very good job.”
--Despite the defense getting the better of the offense, Wilson said of his offense, “We’re way farther ahead,” from where they were at this time a year ago. Wilson said the starting offense struggled more because of self-inflicted errors, most notably the penalties.
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